DESIGN & BUILD
When unboxing this monitor we found ourselves wondering whether Asus had sent us PA246Q instead of a PA248Q, as the two models really do look very similar, with the same matte plastic casing and top-notch finish. All in all, the PA248Q feels like a robust, well-made device.
The screen can be flipped round into portrait mode, and the stand is height-adjustable with a swivel base. The IPS screen panel ensures wider viewing angles than with TN-type LCD panels.
There's been no change to the video connections, with VGA, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort sockets on the back of the PA248Q. However, there are still no built-in speakers, so you'll have to output sound coming via the HDMI or DisplayPort connection through the headphones jack (with headphones or a speaker set).
There have only been two changes to the hardware in this updated monitor. The first is that the built-in card reader has been replaced with 4-port USB 3.0 hub (backwards compatible with USB 2.0). The second new feature is a little control stick on the right-hand side of the screen casing to make it easier to navigate through the internal menus.
Finally, one of the best things about this monitor is its native resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels. In fact, since 16:9 Full HD (1920 x 1080) monitors started to dominate the market, 24-inch displays with 1920 x 1200 pixels are becoming harder to find. However, those extra 120 lines mean that 10% more information can be displayed onscreen, which is certainly handy for office computing, image editing, web browsing, and pretty much anything that's not HD video-related.
COLOURS & CONTRAST
As well as sticking close to the design and hardware seen in the PA246Q, Asus has also treated the PA248Q to factory calibrated colours—something we really liked in the PA246Q.
The PA248Q therefore ships with a slip of paper in the box detailing the results of the colours measured onscreen before it left the factory. Before approving a monitor for sale, it needs an average Delta E under 5 (Delta E is the difference between colours requested by the source and those displayed onscreen). According to the info that came with our PA248Q—and according to our test equipment—the average Delta E is actually 2.5 when you switch to sRGB mode. That's good enough to please the fussiest of users!
The contrast has actually improved compared with the previous version—we measured contrast at 750:1 in the PA248Q compared with 650:1 for the PA246Q. However, it's still a little below average compared with all the computer monitors we've reviewed (850:1).
The responsiveness actually proved slightly disappointing. With the default settings, moving objects are trailed by reverse ghosting effects. However, you can get rid of that by switching the Trace Free function to 40.
This graph shows the monitor's ghosting time (in ms) with the AMA function on. Ghosting time measures the time it takes for the screen to totally remove an image. The faster the ghosting time, the smoother moving objects will look onscreen.
Even with these settings, the PA248Q isn't up there with the best, but moving objects and fast-action scenes are still smooth enough for gaming. Responsiveness is essential for getting the best out of games like FPS, as well as any other programs that rely heavily on moving images.
This monitor has no problem with input lag. Any latency between an action and its onscreen response on the PA248Q is too low to be noticeable to the human eye. On the whole, the PA248Q won't hold you back in multiplayer games, even if its ghosting time could still clearly be better.